retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Reuters reports that Amazon sent emails to Kindle owners in the US over the weekend telling them that they may get refunds of between 30 cents and 1.32 per e-book purchased, if a judge approves a lawsuit over price fixing.

Here is the text of the email:

We have good news. You are entitled to a credit for some of your past e-book purchases as a result of legal settlements between several major e-book publishers and the Attorneys General of most U.S. states and territories, including yours. You do not need to do anything to receive this credit. We will contact you when the credit is applied to your Amazon.com account if the Court approves the settlements in February 2013.

Hachette, Harper Collins, and Simon & Schuster have settled an antitrust lawsuit about e-book prices. Under the proposed settlements, the publishers will provide funds for a credit that will be applied directly to your Amazon.com account. If the Court approves the settlements, the account credit will appear automatically and can be used to purchase Kindle books or print books. While we will not know the amount of your credit until the Court approves the settlements, the Attorneys General estimate that it will range from $0.30 to $1.32 for every eligible Kindle book that you purchased between April 2010 and May 2012. Alternatively, you may request a check in the amount of your credit by following the instructions included in the formal notice of the settlements, set forth below ...

In addition to the account credit, the settlements impose limitations on the publishers’ ability to set e-book prices. We think these settlements are a big win for customers and look forward to lowering prices on more Kindle books in the future.


The story notes that "the settlements came about after the Justice Department in April accused Apple Inc and five publishers of illegally colluding on prices as part of an effort to fight Amazon's dominance of e-books. Three of the publishers - News Corp's HarperCollins Publishers Inc, CBS Corp's Simon & Schuster Inc and Lagardere SCA's Hachette Book Group - decided to settle."

Some context from the story about the state of the e-book market:

"Electronic books more than doubled in popularity in 2011, with e-book sales making up 15 percent of the market last year, up from 6 percent in 2010, according the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group. While e-books increased in sales power, bringing in more than $2 billion in 2011, the majority of publishers' revenue still came from printed books, at $11.1 billion in 2011."
KC's View:
The text of the email comes from the message I got on Saturday. I'll let you know if and when I get an actual credit.